Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I still love that maniacal look on Cleo's face !

Current Notes : My PaintShopPro skills are improving - erasing the box fold from today's image only took about an hour ! 

Dirty rice for dinner tonight ! Had to use up the remaining chicken broth and a package of hamburger before they had to be thrown out for safety. Decided to use the ‘cheap’ rice this time, since I used the much fancier, better-shaped Chinese rice from the Asian grocer near Beloved Hubby’s school on this recipe’s first trial. I was wondering if there’d be any real difference, but it probably wasn’t a fair test, since the rice would be buried under seasonings and such. I couldn’t detect any change.  Pairs well with green beans, btw.

Learned that I get stupendously sleepy when I don’t eat. You’d think I’d already know that, but, let’s face it, I enjoy eating and don’t skip many opportunities to do so ! No, those issues I mentioned yesterday stole my sleep last night, and I was awake no matter what I did all night long, but was too upset to eat for any of it, so I could barely stay awake once daylight dawned today. It was almost like I needed the sun to drive away the frantic thoughts and worries, so I could finally sleep. But I still think it has something to do with not eating for 16 awake hours.

Beloved Hubby brought home cardboard boxes from work, so we can paint the bleachers without staining the sidewalks. We may even start as soon as tomorrow ! So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

Didn’t really get much done in between nap attacks – finally got the Barbie boat pieces put away, and while I had the MH school playset down, removed the pillars from the outside door and stored them inside, as they were causing the whole thing to rest at an angle. Put some doll jewelry away, as well as some shoes and clothes, and found space for the new books in the bookcase. Played a little, plotted out a few things, daydreamed. Not much.

Got to sew a bit, just the latest revision to that column dress. Neckline’s better, armholes still too big, and I think I’ll need to do a separate ‘front’ and ‘back’ pattern piece. The way it is now, pattern’s the same, front and back, just split down the middle for the back – and the closure makes it pull just a bit too awkwardly. Maybe by adding a bit of width to the back only will make it hang straight.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

At least PD Operetta gets something new - poor Mad Science Ghoulia's still in her issue dress !

Current Notes : Got tired of the awful inseam on that Dressing Dolls pattern, so I altered further trials to make a long, columnar dress. Still have to adjust the neckline (it gaps) and the armholes (too large), but I'll have it sooner or later ! Can't do much with this Barbie fabric, but it works well for test stitching ! 

I almost thought it was my birthday again today ! Beloved Hubby and Dearest Son let me sleep in, so I woke to Braum’s biscuits and one of the bleacher sets completely sanded ! Beloved said it only took them about a half hour, thanks to some upgraded sandpaper. Still, very sweet ! He said he’d do the mattress wrangling so I could have a ‘me’ day, and I knew what I’d be doing – the last bleacher set ! Still took me an hour and a half, even with the good sandpaper, but they’re done ! Friday seems to be the best day to paint them, but really, it’s up to Beloved when he can help me. So excited !

Beloved said our old bed wasn’t worth salvaging, and came home with a new cushy airbed, and a rotisserie chicken for lunch ! DM & FIL are doing well, and they discussed a few things, including some difficult news from my estranged parent(s). Things are moving apace, but fairly. Nothing to complain about. Some stuff to be concerned about, but truly, not much has changed. Just that… new bed or not, it’s gonna be a bit hard to sleep tonight.

Anyway… DFIL found a really nice office chair without wheels during one of his walks, and brought it home to give to Dearest. He cleaned it up and we swapped wheel decks with his current  worn chair, and he now has the nicest chair in Chez Insanity. We need to take a photo of it, to thank his grand-dad. And I found a shiny dime in the parking lot.

Monster High’s been making the news lately. It’s kind of more of the same, repeated from 2010 and 1959 with Barbie – body too thin, clothing too sexy, etc.- but from NPR this time. You can read and hear their views here. I kind of yawned. At least Forbes was brave enough to say ‘a doll is a toy, why you freakin’ ?’ . You’d think the dolls came out last week instead of over three years ago. Enjoyed reading that their success has taken even Mattel by surprise, I kinda wanted to believe that when availability bobbles first started to surface in 2011. I tell ya, by the time you finish with both articles, you are pretty darn sick of reading ‘Goth Barbie’ over and over for a while. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Hi, Operetta !

Current Notes : Here's Signature Operetta in Picture Day's dress, jewelry, and shoes. Forgot to put the corset/belt on, but I think it looks nice without. Well worth the $20. and three-week wait, just for her outfit and shoes, in my opinion ! 

Beloved Hubby and I are looking at the end of yet another era. Our last inflatable bed has become unsleepable, and it’ll be a bit before we can afford another nice one. So we’re going to retrieve our old coils-and-box-springs one from DM & FIL’s tomorrow, dust and clean it up and put it back to use. We’d have had to anyway, since their house isn’t good for air mattresses – there’s hidden carpet tack strip and splinters from the hardwood floors that appear and vanish at random. We could probably squeeze one more inflatable bed out of the budget, but it’d end up being a waste of money whether it lasted long enough or not. So, no time like the present of tomorrow !

Just didn’t feel like sewing today, so I did little necessary things, like putting books away, finding a better stand for my Catwalk Kitty, rearranging some dolls around, scanning patterns, and such. Broke Picture Day Operetta’s box down for images and parts, stuffed ‘em in the shipping packages, and got those in the Dumpster and out of the way. Went to clear the XD camera memory chip, and it’s working now, so I’m glad I didn’t have to. Embroidery Library kindly gave me a $10. birthday gift certificate that expires tomorrow, so I found several designs I liked, and got them downloaded and arranged. Even though I’ve only touched ‘Brody’, the embroidery machine, to use it as temporary storage for the Barbie boat bridge, then for photos with Joel, the gargoyle CAM, in the last year, I still think that one day, I’ll start embroidering again – I don’t know why I haven’t in so long. Anyway, new designs for when I do. Thanks, Embroidery Library, for the thoughtful gift !

So, not a big, busy day – I got a nap, and fell asleep again while reading ! – but a nice one. Hope yours was gently sweet, too ! 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sailing, sailing, over the Arena mess...

Current Notes : Hope my ghouls have boatshoes...

It occurred to me yesterday, that the Barbie Dream Boat bridge is such a cool piece of plastic, it makes anything beneath it look like a boat ! Well, truth is, I just put it on top of the embroidery machine for a minute to get it out of the way, but it really did make ‘Brody’ look like ‘USS Brody’ for a bit ! Decided to let Joel take him out for a spin on the lake of my messy Arena desk, and got a photo for you. I’m really glad I bought it, I’ve already enjoyed having it around !

Ya gotta hand it to those old 70s ‘vinyl over cardboard’ Barbie playsets. They weren’t expensive, lasted a while unless they fell victim to sibling roughhousing, held awesome graphics and lots of play and fun potential in a small space. Childhood disasters aside, it’s amazing how durable they are – and how many are still usable today. It’s a pretty neat bit of engineering. The bunk beds in the cabin flip up to store the bridge inside, so the whole thing takes up little space in a closet, just a small rectangle. There’s decks to pose on, a wheel to steer, ladders and a galley and a bedroom for pajama parties. According to the packaging, it's four feet long all opened up, which was bigger than most of its owners. There's a lot to play with !

Compare to the current Barbie Cruise Ships. Yeah, Babs don’t mess with anything less than a ship these days ! The previous still-current model was huge, as big as a doll house, all thin hard plastic and tiny props. Surprisingly, it offers about the same activities – sleeping, eating, sunning on the deck. I think the new one has a pool that becomes a buffet table or something. $90. vs. $45. ($10.77 in 1974 money, run through an inflation converter) may not seem like much, but to me, it’d make a difference. Actually, since the Friend Ship airplane was just ten bucks, I’d have gotten that instead of the boat in the first place ! (pricing source :

Sewed a little – first attempt was trashcan fodder, second was usable, but not good. Since I didn’t like how the Dressing Dolls  handled inseams, I converted the jumpsuit to a long, column-like straight dress, to get more practice and refinement on the armholes and neckline. Still a ways to go, but it’s good enough for a donation. You’ll get that photo Tuesday, since I’ve already got Monday’s photo ready to go. And who knows what I’ll have done by then !

But I really have to get back to that sanding…ugh. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Operetta's UK Tour ends, only slight damage found.

Current Notes : Hoping I can nap away all this whine soon...

I don’t know what’s wrong with me today. I’m out of sorts for no real reason. Woke up that way, too. Waited all day yesterday for my Barbie boat bridge to arrive – it got into the PO at 5am, after being hung up in Jersey City for three days. Too bad it sat in our PO all Friday. At least I was able to pick it up from the Office today – only reason I knew it was there was because Package Tracking says it was delivered. And the nice young ladies at the office said I had a second package, which turned out to be my long-awaited Picture Day Operetta, all the way from Great Brittan in a slightly bashed box. Luckily she’s in perfect shape, although I mostly bought her for her shoes and clothes.

I know I’m whining. And I don’t know why. I have no reason to whine, none at all. But I am, on and on. (sigh) Darn barometric pressure keeps rising and falling, and I swear I get a headache every time the needle twitches. Was so ornery, Beloved Hubby took me out for a soda, which was nice and helped a bit.

I think I’m going to start ‘Play Date Saturday’ next week, which’ll host a photo or two of a playset or special prop – like we’re bringing our stuff over for a group playdate in the living room. A really *big* living room ! And since my boat bridge arrived in better shape than expected, I’ll break out that one first ! I already know what photo I want.

Not a lot going on. Beloved’s working tonight, and the dishes are already done. Dearest Son’s engrossed in a Harry Potter movie, one of the earlier ones, before the series got truly dark. I’m gonna sew a bit, probably the ‘ghoul’ size jumpsuit pattern I worked on yesterday, see if this is closer to ‘good’ than the first one. Wish me luck ! 

Friday, July 26, 2013

I didn't mean for this to be 'Howleen Week', but that's what happened !

Current Notes : Yikes, that's tight ! 

(wince) According to one Mattel release chart – made available to retailers – I’ve seen, Slow Moe is due out in November. And Clawdia will be out in December. Yikes. I still remember the search to find Gil, at about the same time, and hate to think I’ll have to do the same to find my Moe…(sigh) Well, it’s either that, or I’ll make sure to have a few extra bucks available for shipping !

This should tell you where I am about Clawdia – I already know what I’m going to rename her. Y’see, I have zero interest in current blue-and-mega-curly star Honey Swamp, but every time I heard ‘I love Honey !!’ from any of a dozen sources, I thought of Clawdia. So, if / when I get her, I’m going to rename her ‘Honey’. I’m sure it’ll be confusing, and it’s not in keeping with the Wolf family naming traditions, but I already have a Clawdia, and I think ‘Honey’ suits that doll more than it does the swamp monster.

There’s other listings on the chart, but again, I find m’self only blah interested. A doll will have to be something special, like Honey-Clawdia and Scarah, to make me want him/her after Slow Moe.

Meanwhile, I’ve been digging in my Library books – Beloved Hubby said I devoured one of them whole ! – and grooving on that sweet 70s vibe in Dressing Dolls. Decided I’d like to modify a pattern to fit the MH ghouls, namely the ‘Lounging Pajamas’ that I saw more as a cool jumpsuit than anything else. Made a few modifications…and it came out too small to fit. Oh, I fitted it well around the doll (for once !) – but I made it too short ! It just barely fit Howleen, and if you really look, you can see it’s pretty tight. But it really looked *good* on her ! Modified two patterns, and hope to sew one or both tomorrow. So you may yet get to see something too tight on a regular ghoul ! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Howleen's Haircut !

Current Notes : Now that Flickr is back up, Howleen's photo's been redone. I think she's adorable ! 

Still having trouble getting to sleep. Once asleep, I lay there like a slug for hours, but getting there has been 99% of the battle. Realized I’ve become lazy while I was sick, and since I recently preached at Beloved Hubby that relatives wouldn’t need so many sleep aids if they just got some exercise made me realize I haven’t been getting much of it either. So I did a quick cycle of leg and arm lifts, then some other basic calisthenics that soon had me winded. Not good. Well, time for me to get back on that pony before I try to sell her siblings to anyone else !

I also had an attack of nostalgia. When I first started sewing – for Barbie, of course ! – I was as hungry for patterns as I often get for treats and snacks. Could I ever have enough ? Even when I had some so complicated they looked like Shuttle blueprints, I still searched out more. Our entire library system had just one pattern book at the time, Dressing Dolls, by Charlene Davis Roth. I kept it for the maximum time allowed, photocopying it several times. But only the Barbie patterns. The other dolls were too small or too old – it was published in 1976, but the baby and toddler dolls used seemed even older. First doll dress I ever completed was from that book – it was solid awful, but the best thing I’d sewn at the time, and I was glowing proud. Thank Everything our digital camera wasn’t up to getting clear photos of it ! It really was bad, but it showed me I could do it, and finish with a doll dress the doll could actually wear.

Saw the book again on eBay a few days ago, and got all glassy-eyed over it. It’d only cost ten bucks to buy it, shipping and all, but…our Library still had that same copy. Picked it up today, and I doubt I’ll be scanning anything, but I’m having the most fun just looking at it. And wondering if the Barbie ‘Lounging Pajama’ pattern would work for the MH crowd. I owe that book quite a bit, and will probably buy it eventually. Just to have.

Also from ‘things plucking right at the edge of my consciousness’,  recent pictures of Howleen have irritated me. I’m upset at m’self for wrecking her hair. I should have just left it in those huge curls instead of trying to straighten it a little – some of it frayed a bit, and the rest went so straight, it was sharp ! With quite a bit of ugly fray-frizz. At least I’d been smart enough to leave her bangs alone. I hate to say it, but I’ve been contemplating finding a new Howleen, but you know how I am with a doll I have a history with, and money. I tend to cling to whatever I have, especially when I don’t have any of the second – and it wasn’t the doll’s fault I wrecked her. Plus, I just ‘fixed’ her hands the way I liked, I really should try to fix her hair, too.

And since I wasn’t able to sleep anyway, no time like the present. Found the stuffed tube I use for pagegirl styles and got to work. I kinda didn’t want to default to my standard usual hairdo, but I knew it’d look good on her, I’d like her new look, and I could do it fairly well. Boiled it in the wee hours, cut it this afternoon – not bad ! I still wish I hadn’t messed with her hair to begin with, but I like her new ‘do much better ! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The occasional late-night sand can become a creative pearl sometimes...

Current Mood : Happy and sleepy. Two dwarves at once !

Everyone went to bed early last night, but for whatever reason, my mind was racing and I just couldn’t settle enough to sleep. Since I was up anyway, I sewed late into the morning, and crashed after creating a simple t-shirt style piece for Heath and a test of the third revision to that Russian Barbie pattern for Abbey with the ‘busy’ print I reclaimed yesterday. Came out so nice, I made a ‘simple’ shirt to go with her skirt this morning, but it took over an hour. I thought it’d be ‘fold and sew and Velcro ™’, but then it needed darts, then it was too snugly fitted to use Velcro ™ on, so I had to hand-sew a snap…the simplest ones are the time sinks sometimes.

It still looked a little plain, and I’m kind of tired of strapless, so I added ribbon straps. That made Heath’s shirt look really blah, so he got a ribbon stripe, too. I gained an added respect for anyone who sews ribbon. It’s a real fight to keep that stuff straight long enough to sew it down ! I thought about making Heath some shorts, but was afraid I’d send some fans over the edge, so I kept him in his issue pants. I may stitch up some white pants later, though.

Happily, it was time for photos…but now the camera didn’t work. I was lucky it was just the nearly decade-old 2GB XD chip, and that I’d not only kept the small ones that came with cameras past and present, but I knew exactly where they were. A 16MB chip doesn’t hold much, but it’s enough for my purposes. Later tonight, I have to find out what hit the 2GB – the camera kept saying it wasn’t initialized, and the computer said it was damaged, but the repairs it effected didn’t affect it at all.

Wish me luck ! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sanded and sewed today !

Current Mood : Energized !

Ginger cares not for sanding nor sewing, just sleeping and sulking !
(Flea bath, she's fairly miffed)
One of the joys of apartment living – no water today. Not really surprised, TownOf has had pipes dug up and torn up since  last Thursday around here. No big deal, I’m sure it’ll be back on by the time this is published. Glad I did dishes last night !

Not sure if I told ya – my ‘big’ birthday present, the unassembled, unpainted podium and three sets of large bleachers from Monster Mini Customs on Etsy arrived last week. I probably didn’t say anything because I just started working on them today. Sanding. Lots and lots of sanding. I’m hoping to sand smooth one set of bleachers a day, then get them all painted this weekend, weather permitting. It took me two hours to get halfway through my first large bleacher set – did the hard parts first. The rest will probably take an hour total. Then I can start on the second set, if my arms hold out ! There’s lots of what Beloved Hubby called ‘saw burn’ to file off almost each piece. The podium I want to stain instead of paint, so I may hold off sanding it ‘til the bleachers project is done.

Finished today’s sanding – one bleacher down, two to go ! – by spacing it out during the day. Took about four hours, off and on. Hopefully my arm won’t ache tomorrow. In between, there’s plenty of time for other pursuits. Was idly flipping through an old doll magazine when my eyes found a scrap of fabric I’d always liked. It was in the craft/scrap bin because I thought it was too ‘busy’ for doll clothes, but what the heck. Plenty there for my next efforts ! Since the magazine was more boring than my ideas, I got up and got cutting.

And guess who bonked herself on the head again ? I couldn’t find a non-pitted place on my old rotary cutting mat/board – I’ve had it as long as I’ve used a rotary cutter (2002 !), so we learned together, and we both bear the scars. Luckily, 99.9% of those were to the board and not me, but believe me when I say I pretty much pitted it, scraped it, and dug deep trenches. It’s been very well used – and in those earliest days, when I actually broke my first rotary cutter from pushing on it too hard, deeply abused. I change my blades a lot more often these days (embarrassed blush). Not much to salvage there…but what about the other side ? It wouldn’t have that cool grid and helpful inch markings, but while it had a few skids and scrapes and stains, the back side was otherwise pristine. Could I use the other side ? Once I scrubbed it up a bit ?

YES ! My Olfa cutter glided like a skater across the green surface, and we were both reacquainted with the simple joy of a smooth, precise cut. I bonked m’self on the head and cut out some more. Oh, so nice. I almost feel sorry for that poor cutting board/mat, it was so close to some easy time in a landfill, but since I’m gonna tear up the backside first, it could have years of cutting ahead of it still. And Hobby Lobby won’t get to see me, clutching a 40% coupon for an item that’s less than ten bucks, full price. But you know it’s a rare day I buy just one thing at a craft store, so it’s for the best I use some of the largesse I have for a while. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ghoulia and Howleen discuss the significance of long skirts and the national economy...

Current Mood : Dotty. 

Had a ‘bonk  your own head’ solution to my rotary cutting board problem this morning. I can’t believe I stewed over it so long without thinking about finding the best remaining part of the board and cutting it free of the worst of the damage. That way, I’d salvage my old board, get a smaller one to suit my needs, and even if it doesn’t last forever, at least it’ll hold me ‘til I can get a new one. Heck, depending on what happens after I cut it, I may carve a chunk off that too big one I also have doing nothing. Not gonna lose anything by trying, and may learn and gain something. Sometimes my brain really works !

And I finally made the ‘home’ version of Dirty Rice. I’ve been using the house-brand/ off brand generic box mixes, usually found at Aldi’s or Dollar Tree. They’re good, but we really like the stuff, so I’ve been hunting for a cheaper, better version. Ran head-first into the conundrum today. My ‘from scratch’ (ha !) version was good, but the chicken broth the recipe calls for isn’t much cheaper than the box mix ! I’m saving maybe a whole quarter, and that’s only because we already have so much rice sitting around. If I was going strictly by cost, it’d probably be about equal. Only difference is thinking I’m a gourmet chef for buying chicken stock instead of box mix. At least I can use up some of our surplus rice – and my guys really liked it. Seemed a bit salty to me – and I didn’t add any salt !

Rest of the day was pretty quiet. Made a couple fold-and-sew blouses to go with the new skirts, and took photos. I noticed that the front of Ghoulia’s skirt was still pretty tight. So I added a quarter-inch to the pattern the old-fashioned way – paper and tape with a ruler. I’d been kind of regretting purchasing the printer/scanner, but it was certainly nice to have it at my fingertips today.

I think I’ll make a simple guy’s shirt tomorrow. Poor Heath hasn’t been redressed since he got here ! And I’ve been thinking about making another simple garment pattern to share – and figuring out how to share the last one ! 

Oh, and here's my Pinterest -  clickies !  Thanks for asking, Alrunia, you probably have 95% of it, it's pretty dull. Feel free to send me your pins, I’d love to see what you’ve found ! I need to go hunting for those other Russian Barbie patterns again, so I can share ‘em. Rather skulk through your pins first, though ! J

Sunday, July 21, 2013

And he's not exclusive or next year's SDCC chase, or anything ! Whoo-hoo !

Current Mood : Sew happy...

Few minutes after I woke up this morning, I was bouncing around, all happy. Dearest Son wondered why momma was acting so weird but Beloved Hubby knew. “Next new doll is a Slow-Moe, right ?” He knows me entirely too well !

Far as other dolls are concerned…It might be the end of an era, but the day has dawned that I gazed upon photos of two upcoming dolls that will come with four pair of shoes each and yawned that I don’t want either. There’s a time I’d have wanted both, even if I didn’t particularly like any of the shoes they came with. But that time has passed, and even though ‘I <3 Shoes’ DracuLaura and Cleo look great and come with cool footwear, I don’t want either one.

In fact, of all the dolls shown at SDCC this year, there’s only two I do want, and one is only a ¾ sort of Want. Slow Moe is the only definite must-have for me, even if his massive overbrow and dense lumbering quality has been replaced by a kind of goofy sweetness and a Kid n’ Play hairstyle, I like it, and him, and will snag him at the earliest opportunity – and hope we already have groceries that week.

Clawdia is my mostly-want, and a good chunk of that is Barbie nostalgia.  Her huge grin makes me smile every time I see her, and aside from the great shoes and so-preppy socks, her wardrobe looks like something a slightly sinister (or more fashionable) Babs would wear. And let’s not even get into her golden, curly locks ! When she comes out, I’ll look into her glasses-covered eyes – and her eyewear is amazing, I’ll want to snag a second pair for Ghoulia – and decide on the spot, in the harsh light of retail. We all know how this has gone in the past…

Locally, I also learned something by accident. Found a couple Russian Barbie patterns on Pinterest – which I stupidly didn’t pin and now can’t find again – and saved them, because they were unusual styles I didn’t already have six hundred times over. I mean, how many different ways can you do pants patterns for the same measurements ? Long about noon today, I started thinking that one gown could make a nice MH skirt… so I printed my saved scan out, studied it a bit, then printed it again, at the recommended 72% for MH figures, and sewed it up. 

While the usual 'what you have divided by what you want' formula would only have me reducing Barbie patterns about ten percent, I've found  that reducing a Barbie pattern to 90% doesn't take into account those very thin, swaybacked bodies. I heard someone else was starting out at 72%, and found that it worked most times, so I started doing the same. It's a good jump-off point, but as illustrated here, it's far from the final answer. It helps when the pattern is very simple - two pattern piece, three fabric pieces skirt, slim and slightly slinky. Even sewn up using cotton material, it looked Mad Men inspired. It was a bit too tight – pulled at the hips and had to have a split in the back for it to fit on the doll – but it really looked nice. And I got some practice in making split skirts on the fly, which is always good. Never done one before, but this one is almost good.

Printed it out at 75%, which made a big whopping 3/16 “ difference. Still, I have plenty of fabric, and it’s so basic, I can stitch it up in a half hour… and I can always make further alterations later. Rather than grab my usual rotary matt to aid with the cut, I used a grocery ad. And the cutting went much smoother than it has in recent memory. Guess it’s time to retire my 2002 cutting mat, it’s pitted and warped, and I probably should have tossed it two moves ago, but…the mat I already have to replace it is huge. Much bigger, bought on sale with a coupon, but there’s literally no place on any Arena surface to put it. I’m leaning towards snagging a small 6” by 8” model next time we hit Hobby Lobby, but who knows how many phone books and grocery ads I’ll go through before then ? There are times I really miss having my own car…

Anyway, stitched it again tonight, and 75% is good. Don’t need the split, and the fit is just about perfect without any other alterations. I may shorten it a bit, but that pattern can be altered to darn near any length, no problem. And I discovered that both the usual cast of ghouls and the smaller ones can wear the first version of the skirt, although the fit is a bit better on Howleen. You’ll get photos of both skirts tomorrow, promise !

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Venus in Polka Dots !

Current Mood : Re-energized !

I’m such an evil prat. Rumor has it that tomorrow’s big MH SDCC reveal is Slow Moe, after a Facebook photo surfaced then vanished. The image was two dolls holding hands and little else, but the hands were ‘zombie grey’ and the girl half was wearing Ghoulia’s latest ‘Periodic Table’ dress. I’m thrilled – half the fandom is, the rest is mostly happy for us, but that’s not what makes me so consistently evil. In my quest to find out more – I never find squadoo on Facebook – even the squeeing-loudest fans were perturbed about one thing, even more than the vanishing photo act. The doll partially shown was wearing shorts. You know, like most of the MH male dolls. And poor Ken. If tuxedos came in shorts, you know he’d be looking like a fool in those, too.

So, after reading the same complaint on two message boards, LiveJournal, a couple Tumblers, and Flickr, I had one evil thought that I had to fight to keep from posting to each of ‘em. “Thank Everything I sew !” would probably not have gone over well, but that’s my evil thinking. Such a prat.

As for today’s reveals, if it weren’t for the possibility of a Moe for my Ghoulia-shipping, I’d think that I wasn’t pushing off from the Mattel mothership – the mothership was pushing off from me ! The first, Honey Swamp, is based on the Louisiana Honey Island Swamp monster, a sort of Bigfoot. Between her huge hair and my own unfortunate tendency to hear ‘Honey Boo Boo’ instead of Honey Swamp, I have no interest in that doll, save for her clapperboard. I already have a better doll-scale camera. And I have a neon-pink Jem clapperboard that’s a bit oversized, but at least doesn’t say somebody named Alley Gator is the director and cameraman.

And, at first, I kind of wrote off Clawdia Wolf, the Headmistress Abigail – sized addition to the Wolf family, as her panel debut made her look seriously Ganguro. Look that up on your search engine of choice for your ‘WTF ?’ of the day. First time I saw it, I yelled, ‘Why are such beautiful young women doing that to themselves ?!’ and I sure as heck wasn’t buying it in doll form. Plus, I already have a Clawdia, my Dawn of the Dead  Clawdeen. But later, better pictures surfaced, and I admit, between the glasses, the wardrobe, and that big grin, she’s growing on me. Of all the dolls I’ve had a full view of – including the Jane Boolittle in the display catacombs – she’s the only one I’d consider purchasing. It’d be nice to have a second doll that size, too. They could share a business wardrobe, with the soon-renamed Clawdia wearing my weirder designs.

Speaking of sewing and weird, I actually got to sew late last night and today. Ta-daa ! The ‘rosette’ at Venus’ shoulder actually does *not* hide bad stitching (for once !), I just felt the plain white blouse needed a focal point to match the skirt. Both pieces are from NG Creations – the blouse is from the first set, the bubble skirt is revised from her third. I added two inches of length and a waistband. I need more practice on bubble skirts, mine never hang evenly. I’d originally had another blouse in mind, but it was a Barbie pattern and I didn’t know if I could get it to work – the scale and all. so I stuck to something simple, and may just craft my own version of the Barbie one from scratch. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows...

Current Mood : Better

The big MH doll reveal at SDCC today was… Catty Noir, a doll that’s been well known and well-discussed for several months now. I could probably make a decent facsimile of her issue dress without seeing any new images of it first. Like the rest of my day, it was quite anticlimactic.

After a sleepless night and several pages of bust-beating journaling (if you think I’m drama nobility here, you should read what I reserve for my private writings !) while everyone else slept, I managed to separate and refine most of my issues and how some had nothing to do with the situation, and others were, literally, everything. Without getting too much into it, my greatest concern is that we’re once again sacrificing our hopes/ dreams/ intents to save someone else from responsibility. But the cold hard fact is, we stand a better chance of making those dreams by delaying them for a little while now. Also, with all the health concerns in the mix (mine, Dearest Son’s, and M & FILs), we’re gonna end up at the same place eventually – do we want to control how it happens, or wait for the inevitable crash and have to deal with a frantic mess on top of everything else ?

We made a list of everything that needs to be replaced or repaired for a family of five to live in that house and Garpartment, and Beloved Hubby estimates that it’d take a year of time and earnings and effort to make them happen. For my usual sunshiny demeanor, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool cynic, so any home improvement estimate I hear, I automatically double. I also took a personal inventory, and listed everything my journals complained about when we lived there last year, and when they lived with us for a few months years ago. Hopefully I learned from those days, and can better affect communication when the inevitable stresses get verbal.

To the plus side, this will be one move that doesn’t require me to ditch half of everything I own. There’s enough room for all of us to keep what we have, but I don’t need to amass more. If the house really will become ours, there’s even a built-in wall unit that’ll be perfect for my dolls. So I have some advantages, but it’s really hard to turn away from independence. I’m really going to miss it….

But this may be my biggest challenge yet. Give me a week or three to adjust. Then bring it ! 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

This is a day I'd sleep with a doll in my arms if I thought I could get away with it...

Current Mood : Needs a drink...

Didn’t get to sew today. Kinda my own fault, I should have popped out of bed and gone right to it, but I was being lazy and enjoying the morning (Ok, ok, late morning to early afternoon) with Beloved Hubby. We’d told DMIL & FIL we’d be by about 1pm to pick up Dearest Son, so we both rather lazed those hours away.

Still, I figured I’d have some sewing time available once we got home. We’d stopped by GoodWill, and while I didn’t find anything, Beloved found two books in his line of study, and I found a book easel for him. While we already have a low-angle plastic one, this one was black mesh, and at a much better angle for his Tablet. Got to the register, and the easel and one of the books were half-off, too. Score !

Don’t feel bad for me. I’ve narrowed my search to a specific Barbie Dream Boat bridge, and if no one else bids on it in the next few days, it’s mine ! It’ll be my last spending for a while, mostly ‘cause I’m broke, but partly because we… well, let me set this up correctly in the next paragraph.

I mostly didn’t get to sew – and won’t get to spend – because DMIL kind of dropped a thought-bomb on us. They’ve mostly given up on their plan to move where BIL and his family are, and instead want to relocate into the Garpartment, and sell the rest of their house to us. Um. She and DFIL hastened to tell us we’d be on the deed, they’d help with bills, on and on.

Problem is, I can see six million ways this can go bad (only half of which are based on us living with them in 2011) and a few million it’d be good for all of us. It puts a tremendous amount of stress and responsibility on Beloved, whether we do it or not. He’s already feeling like he has to, and there’s tons of repairs and such that still need to be done. I have no idea where we’d get the funds for all of them, and at least half have to be done before I can move (dog dander, 'dirty' power). We fixed quite a bit a couple years ago, but never got near the major tasks (plumbing issues and electric rewiring) that will become our new jobs if we agree.

If we accept, he’ll have to take at least a year from his studies, find a full-time job, possibly in addition to his current PT one, earn money to restore the house and pay bills, and do as much of the necessary work as possible himself. I’m sure DFIL will help, but I don’t want to rely on anyone for obvious reasons. We also have to be ridiculously careful, because if our income goes too high, there goes my VA medical care – my prescriptions alone are probably equal a monthly house payment.

I’m completely at a loss, but I already pretty much know which way the wind’s blowing. I just get so tired of starting over, ya know ? Between hashing out my concerns and his plans, any chance of sewing was blown completely out. To tell the truth, I’m a little ticked at them for suddenly unloading this on us. I feel like an anime character, constantly bouncing from one crisis to the next, with rarely an hour of peace before the barrel starts turning again. Yeah, I’m whining. It’s the one thing I can do now that I do well.

Meanwhile, two of the ugliest-dressed MH dolls I’ve ever seen made their debut at SDCC today. Look around for ‘Sweet Screams’ images, Frankie and DracuLaura dolls that’ll be Target exclusives. When I first saw them this morning, I had a paragraph ready to go about why there’d be plenty to go ‘round here, I sure as sticky wasn’t buying ‘em. Now I wish I could still care anything about them at all. I’m that gobsmacked. You might like ‘em though, they’re certainly unusual !

I’m gonna crawl into a hole and pretend my life didn’t go to crap today…

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Waffle-shoes exist !

Current Mood : A bit weirded out...

Free day ! It started off unexpectedly, as I slept in massively late. Beloved Hubby told me he was making waffles for breakfast, and I muttered, ‘We don’t have a waffle maker,’ then fell back to sleep. I dreamt he made pancakes, and was adding waffle grids to them with his athletic shoes. When I asked if he’d washed them first, he told me that he wanted that authentic ‘gravel-to-griddle’ taste on his, but he’d gladly rinse his shoes off in between batches. When I woke up again, I found that he’d actually made waffles – a house-brand version of the round frozen kind that you buy for your toaster. Very crispy and buttery, with no gravel after-taste. My imagination is a dangerous place…

DMIL had an appointment today and needed a ride, so Beloved and Dearest Son were going up to take care of it, and Dearest was gonna overnight visit, something we haven’t done in a while. So I had an unexpected day all to m’self !

Which, I admit, I mostly slept through. I read some, played a few online games, played with my dolls a little, watched some truly awful daytime TV, made m’self a nice punch using fresh ginger ale and the last of the ice-crystalled orange sherbet from the freezer. Idly, I planned and plotted my next sewing project over some ham bone bean soup. I want something kind of easy, the better to ease my way back into what I hope becomes an everyday habit, like dishwashing (yuck, but it’s for the best) – but still a little challenging, so I’m not falling asleep in the middle of an inseam. Ended up leafing through Barbie patterns, for various reasons (adaptations of previously sewn items are a good mix of easy and challenging), but didn’t see anything I really wanted to run.

Beloved was home, with a load of bags from an Aldi’s run, and it was all I could do to not attack the crackers, chips, pickles, and other goodies. Good thing I’d cleaned out the freezer and fridge recently ! They’re stuffed now. Ginger-kitty got a flea bath with new shampoo, here’s hoping it works better than those useless drops, and I urged both of ‘em to get a nap. I had an idea…

I finally remembered an MH skirt pattern I’d tried once and liked, but found a bit too short for my tastes. So while everyone breathed gently as day became evening, I altered the pattern and cut out fabric. Should have time to stitch it up tomorrow. Hope it works !

Oh, and the San Diego Comic Con began today…or something. If you wanna see at least part of the Mattel MH display, photos are out there. One contains a sloth pet that has fed rumors of a Slow-Moe doll being revealed over the next few days. Mattel’s got six cardboard stand-ins for doll reveals – two Thursday, one Friday, two Saturday, one Sunday. I so hope the sloth rumor is true…

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Rain and my mood...

Current Mood : Ugh. 

Sorry, everyone. Just not into it today. It’s still raining, and I slept most of the day. About all I did was wash dishes, clean some of the nearly-condemned bathroom, and repair a house-blouse I tore last week. It’ll probably tear again, it’s so old, but at least it fits better now !

Had house-brand Cream of Wheat for breakfast and lunch today, just because it was comforting, warm and sweet. I never once ate the stuff as a kid, it was never part of our pantry, but I crave it occasionally as an adult. Beloved Hubby whipped up a great dinner of miniature soft tacos, Mexican rice, and refried beans with cheese and red sauce, and I was more than happy to clean up afterwards.

Got treated to a photo array of everything that’s wrong with somebody’s Apple (Ever After High) doll – just wish I’d seen any of the complaints. Eyes looked parallel to me, and I think the unusual ‘gradient’ style Mattel went with for their brows is where he or she got the idea that they were half-missing. Honestly, all I really saw is how much that doll looked like Season 8 Bridezilla Kera, and if that wasn’t a huge enough repellant, I can’t imagine what else could be. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Playset Central !

Current Mood : A bit excited...

Left to right : Barbie Country Living Home, Friend Ship airplane, Dream Boat ( incomplete),
Monster High School, Quick Curl room case, Loving Care Hospital Room.

I had quite a bit of fun playing with the Barbie Dream Boat last night, and it was relaxing to not worry about visible background showing. And it occurred to me that, if I had the bridge I’m currently missing, I could move it around – it’s designed to detach for storage – to absorb some of that. Or, I could just relax and take the darn picture, sofa or bad stucco be darned. So, I’m officially on the hunt for a Dream Boat Bridge that’s in decent shape and pretty cheap. I normally get to pick one of those two criteria. I really want the ship’s wheel to be intact, for some strange reason, otherwise I could have my pick of ‘cheap’ already !

I’m thinking – again ! – that I really should take some time once a week to pull down one of the playsets and actually play with it. I’ve got DracuLaura’s roadster, a slightly damaged Frankie’s bed (both from Dearest Son), the School, the Coffin Bean, Barbie’s 1988 ‘Loving Care’ Hospital room, the Bake Shop cafe, the Quick Curl case (aka, Shinobu’s sewing room) and two other cases that make a bedroom and a ballet cafĂ©, a Barbie piano, the Country Living Home, the Friend Ship airplane, and the recently discussed Dream Boat. Featuring one a week would take me nearly three months to cycle through them all ! Hmm, what would work best, when I’m already late nearly all the time now ? ‘Play Day Friday’ ? Maybe Thursday would work better for me…

Other than that, it’s been a quiet Monday. It’s been raining since midnight last night, and it’s just barely stopped, but I haven’t had any breathing issues. I’ve seen some photos of MH dolls in Ever After High (EAH) clothes, and I kind of half-want the Evil Queen doll’s dress – even though I’m so sick of EAH already, I don’t care about them enough to even learn the characters’ names. I hate to be so petty, but I am what I am.